Local Government

Local Government

As a proud West Australian firm, we have provided legal services to WA federal, state and local governments throughout our 90 year history. 

We have been members of the WALGA Legal Services Preferred Supplier Panel since its inception in 2009. We have a significant Local Government team and are now the only large, full-service law firm with a dedicated industry group to assist Local Government with all their legal requirements.

Our team offer advice on the core areas of local government legal services such as the interpretation and application of the Local Government Act and other legislation affecting local government, town planning and statutory prosecutions.

Our experience ensures that we have an understanding of the issues relevant to local government, including a sound working knowledge of the relevant legislation, policies and codes of conduct specific to local government.

Our core capabilities in Local Government include:

  • Statutory interpretation and advice on the provisions of the Local Government Act and the broad scope of other legislation impacting on, and implemented by, local governments

  • Town planning, including drafting of local planning schemes, structure plans and policies, advice on applications for planning and subdivision approval and representation before the State Administrative Tribunal

  • Urban redevelopment projects, including compliance with the various requirements of the Local Government Act and the negotiation and drafting of agreements between local governments and developers

  • Workplace relations, including enterprise bargaining, Award interpretation, contracts of employment, workplace disputes, unfair dismissal, anti-discrimination, safety and equal opportunity

  • Infrastructure, construction and engineering

  • Taking of land and the management of claims for compensation

  • Aged care, including advice and documentation in relation to the Retirement Villages Act (WA) and the Aged Care Act (Cth)

  • Taxation and commercial advice.

Major Real Estate Transactions

  • We are currently assisting a Local Government with an iconic redevelopment project that incorporates retail, office and hotel components and involves adjoining land owned by a private entity.

  • We are currently advising a Local Government on a major office building development including transaction structuring, the development process and drafting the key transaction documents.

 Town Planning

  • We advised a Local Government regarding the provisions of its proposed planning scheme in relation to a number of prominent beach front sites, and are currently acting for the Local Government in response to modifications required by the Minister for Planning.

  • We acted for many Local Governments in State Administrative Tribunal proceedings, responding to applications for review of planning decisions, and regarding the unauthorised use of land by private entities, including issuing of notices and subsequent prosecutions in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia.


  • We worked with a Local Government to prepare and negotiate a major city foreshore development head lease and sub-lease, various car parking leases and development lease

  • We drafted the project contract for the railway tunnel and underground station for a large Local government redevelopment project.

 Compliance and Disputes

  • We acted for a Local Government in a formal inquiry conducted by the Local Government Advisory Board regarding a boundary change proposal.

  • We acted for multiple Local Governments in relation to disputes under a joint contract with a third party for the collection and processing of recyclable materials.

 Employment & Workplace Relations

  • We acted for a Local government in its defence of unfair dismissal claims brought by six employees who were summarily terminated from their employment following theft from their employment.

  • We represented and advised various Councillors in relation to matters arising from their office in local government including obligations, responsibilities, entitlements of office and breaches of local government policy.

Matthew Reid


+61 8 9426 6866
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Simon Moen


+61 8 9426 6757
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Richard Sandover


+61 8 9426 6622
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Lance Hilton-Barber

Senior Associate

+61 8 9426 6849
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Kelli Blatchford


+61 8 9426 6654
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Ryan Chorley


+61 8 9426 6891
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Elizabeth Tylich


+61 8 9426 6700
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Jemal Zagami


+61 8 9426 6612
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Thomas Jacobs


+61 8 9426 6698
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  • 3 June 2016

    Work Health and Safety in WA: Have your say - public comment now open

    On 1 June 2016, Worksafe WA released a discussion paper on its review of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations and consequent recommendations.  Western Australians now have until 31 August 2016 to comment on the proposed regulations before the State Government determines its final position.


    Author: Renae Harding

    LINK 18 Bytes

  • 11 March 2016

    Duplicity – don’t get caught out!

    The recent WA Supreme Court of Appeal decision in City of Swan v Bayblue Holdings Pty Ltd [2015] WASCA 227 is a timely reminder to local governments of the difficulties in determining whether or not a charge is tainted by duplicity and the potential consequences of getting it wrong.

    Duplicity occurs where there is a single charge which on its face or on the evidence adduced at trial gives rise to more than one offence. A charge tainted by duplicity may at best result in a costly adjournment of the trial and at worst may result in a conviction being overturned on appeal.

    The above risks are particularly acute in the prosecution of offences involving a failure to comply with a direction issued under s. 214 of the Planning Development Act 2005 or a building order issued under s. 110 of the Building Act 2011 (where these notices are directed to more than one set of works).

    Authors: Lance Hilton-Barber, Matthew Reid

    LINK 41 Bytes

  • 11 March 2016

    It’s Not About the Height! – an overview of Nairn v Metro Central Joint Development Assessment Panel [2016] WASC 56

    On 25 February 2016, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Nairn v Metro-Central Joint Development Assessment Panel [2016] WASC 56.
    The decision by Justice Chaney quashed an approval by the Metro-Central Joint Development Assessment Panel for a 29 storey mixed use development on Mill Point Road, South Perth.
    The decision has caused a great deal of consternation within the property development sector and attracted a lot of press about the ramifications for other approvals of high rise developments in South Perth.
    The decision highlights the difficulties of interpreting and applying the provisions of a planning scheme which may have multiple, overlapping and, in some cases, disparate provisions applying to a particular subject site.
    However, the decision should not be construed as precluding or limiting a decision-maker’s discretion to vary development requirements (such as height and plot ratio) under a planning scheme in appropriate circumstances.

    Authors: Lance Hilton-Barber, Matthew Reid

    LINK 44 Bytes

  • 21 October 2015

    Changes to the laws governing incorporated associations in Western Australia

    On 11 September 2014 the Associations Incorporations Bill 2014 (WA) (Bill) was introduced into the Western Australian Parliament. The Bill has now been passed by both Houses of Parliament and is awaiting Royal Assent. The Bill repeals and replaces the current Associations Incorporation Act 1987 (WA). All existing incorporated associations will now need to review and update the rules of their association to ensure compliance with these new laws.

    To read more about the changes to the laws governing incorporated associations in Western Australia click here »

    Author: Elizabeth Tylich

    LINK 41 Bytes

  • 1 June 2015

    Foreign investment in Australia: local government exemptions

    Local government receives a number of benefits from real estate transactions with foreign persons.

    The FIRB requirements otherwise applicable to foreign persons purchasing real estate in Australia do not apply if the seller is a local government.

    Authors: Anka Burns, Simon Moen

    LINK 378 Bytes

  • 3 December 2014

    Government’s response to the review of the Liquor Control Act 1988


    In 2012, the Government established an independent committee to undertake a review of the Liquor Control Act 1988 (Act) and Liquor Control Regulations 1989 (Regulations).   The review was presented to the Minister in January 2014 and contained 141 recommendations.

    On 18 November 2014, the Government responded to each of the Committee’s recommendations.  Below is a summary of the major amendments that the Government proposes to make to the Act and Regulations.

    Author: Richard Sandover

    LINK 42 Bytes

  • 20 June 2014

    How strong is AAA? Local government councils take on the ratings agencies

    The Federal Court has delivered a landmark and lengthy appellate decision (over 400 pages) in the slowly expanding field of representative proceedings in Australia.
    Significantly, investors who suffer losses by investing in financial products in reliance upon negligent or misleading advice may now look to rating agencies for recourse as well as others involved in the sale of the products.

    Author: Peter Walton

    LINK 38 Bytes

  • 1 April 2014

    Cancellation of a Retirement Village Memorial (Section 15)

    On 13 March 2014, the Western Australia Supreme Court delivered its decision of Swancare Group Inc v Commissioner for Consumer Protection [2014] WASC 80.
    The case focused on s 15 of the Retirement Villages Act 1992 (RV Act) and also considered whether a memorial may be corrected pursuant to s 188(3) of the Transfer of Land Act 1893 (WA) (TL Act).
    To read more please click here

    Authors: Bianca McGoldrick, Simon Moen

    Download PDF 43 Bytes

  • 27 March 2014

    Retirement Villages - Your standard documentation will need changes

    The first tranche of changes to the retirement villages legislation start on 1 April 2014.
    The Retirement Villages Act 1992 (Act) and Retirement Villages Regulations 1992 (Regulations) are being amended in a number of ways that enhance the rights of residents. 
    In this article Jackson McDonald lawyers highlights some key points that need to be addressed in new residence contracts.

    To read more, please click here.

    Authors: Bianca McGoldrick, Simon Moen

    LINK 67 Bytes

  • 15 November 2013

    Local Government reform update - the Local Government Amendment Bill 2013 and the Government's updated plan for boundary changes

    The Local Government Amendment Bill 2013 ("the Bill") was introduced into the Legislative Assembly on 30 October 2013.

    Minister for Local Government, Tony Simpson, described the Bill as "an important step in a historic reform of the local government sector".

    Then, on 12 November 2013, the Minister released an updated plan of the Government’s proposed local government boundaries and lodged proposals reflecting those boundaries for consideration by the Local Government Advisory Board ("LGAB").

    When the Government released its blueprint for reform in July 2013, we commented that the "music had started" and that it was time to "choose your dance partners" for the reform process. At the risk of taking that analogy too far, does the Bill mean that the band has fundamentally changed, or has the line-up and playlist simply been refreshed? Is the ballroom going to turn into a rave party, or a line-dance?

    Author: Lance Hilton-Barber

    Download PDF 948 Bytes

  • 6 November 2013

    Coroner makes recommendations to Local Governments in relation to pool safety issues

    With summer just around the corner, and some unseasonally hot weather already upon us, the decision of the Coroner of Western Australia in the investigation into the death of James Gregory Box in March 2012, the report of which was published on 30 October 2013, is a timely reminder of the dangers associated with children and swimming pools. Further, in his report the Coroner makes two recommendations that are directed expressly to Local Governments.

    Author: Lance Hilton-Barber

    Download PDF 929 Bytes

  • 22 August 2013

    The impact of pecuniary interests by decision makers – $40 billion environmental approval declared invalid

    Although Woodside had already pulled the pin on its $40 billion James Price Point proposal, on 19 August 2013 the Supreme Court delivered its decision in The Wilderness Society of WA (Inc) v Minister for the Environment [2013] WASC 307, finding that the environmental approvals issued by the Minister in relation to the Browse LNG Precinct were invalid.


    Download PDF 545 Bytes

  • 13 June 2013

    Politics and Religion don’t mix: Recent developments on local laws restricting freedom of political communication

    The validity of local laws and council policies which directly or indirectly burden the implied freedom of political communication attracted headlines in two high profile cases decided earlier this year. This article was first published in the April-May 2013 edition of The Western Councillor.

    Author: Lance Hilton-Barber

    Download PDF 423 Bytes

  • 28 February 2013

    Are you dealing with “waste”?

    Do you deal with matter in any state or form, whether useful or useless, that is sent forth or removed from one place to another? If so, you may be dealing with “waste” for the purposes of the Environmental Protection Act and the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act.


    Download PDF 435 Bytes

  • 15 February 2013

    Receiving submissions by Email - Beware the E-mail Filter

    Do you accept submissions and comments on draft planning instruments, development proposals and proposed community programs by e-mail? If so, make sure that your e-mail filters are set up properly. A South Australian Court has recently held that an objection to a development sent by e-mail was received by a Council even though the e-mail was blocked and deleted by the Council’s e-mail filter: William Close Pty Ltd v City of Salisbury and McDonalds Australia Ltd [2012] SAERDC 26 (No 2).

    Author: Lance Hilton-Barber

    Download PDF 400 Bytes

  • 16 September 2012

    Door opens for community housing and aged-care providers to object to Local Government rates

    Following a decision by the State Administrative Tribunal delivered on 12 September 2012, community housing and aged-care providers,who have had rates objections rejected by Local Governments, may now be able to lodge those objections.


    Download PDF 280 Bytes

  • 30 August 2012

    Local governments and WA’s ageing population

    It is broadly recognised that the current supply of aged care services in Australia is inadequate to cater for the increasing and changing demands that will be placed on local government in future years. This publication discusses the Living Longer Living Better report released by the Federal Government earlier this year. The report flags major reforms for the aged care sector as well as increased regulation for the operators of aged care facilities.

    Author: Simon Moen

    Download PDF 446 Bytes

  • 25 May 2012

    Jackson McDonald 5th time Perth Law Firm of the Year

    Jackson McDonald consolidated its position as the leading West Australian law firm when named Perth Law Firm of the Year at the 2012 ALB Australasian Law Awards in Sydney on 24 May 2012.

    It is the fifth year out of six that Jackson McDonald has won this prestigious award.


    Download PDF 304 Bytes

  • 12 April 2012

    Local governments undertaking or facilitating major real estate projects

    A growing number of Local Governments in Western Australia are undertaking or facilitating major real estate development projects with private sector proponents.

    Author: Simon Moen

    Download PDF 439 Bytes

  • 11 April 2012

    Duty of care to exercise statutory powers - two recent decisions

    Two recent decisions of the Courts of Appeal of Western Australia and New South Wales have provided important confirmation of the law relating to the duty of care to exercise statutory powers – and a stark illustration of the breadth of issues that local governments may face.


    Download PDF 285 Bytes

  • 15 February 2012

    MOUs and Property Developments - How to get a head start

    In recent years there has been an increase in the number of Local Governments seeking to either commercialise surplus land or revitalise and redevelop underutilised precincts by pursuing development opportunities with private sector proponents. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can be used by a Local Government seeking to formally investigate such an opportunity without committing the Local Government to proceed with the project.

    Author: Simon Moen

    Download PDF 442 Bytes

  • 10 January 2011

    Doing Business in Asia Pacific

    Jackson McDonald is a proud member of Globalaw and has assisted in the development of this guide.


    Download PDF 4 Bytes